Stonehaven is situated on the eastern shore of
south Aberdeenshire, at the point
where the Carron and Cowie Waters flow in to the North Sea. The town grew around
an old fishing village; this part of of Stonehaven is now referred to as the
Auld Toon and is where the annual Fireballs Festival takes place.
This festival is said to have originated in the 19th century and ends when the
fireballs are thrown in to harbour.
The harbour stands at the southern end of Stonehaven Bay,
to the south of the mouth of the Carron Water. At this point, two rocky
headlands, known as Bellman’s Head and Downie Point, form a
natural harbour. This was definitely in use as a port by the late 16th century
and the first mention of an actual harbour dates to the early 17th century;
improvement work was carried out on the harbour to a design by Robert Stevenson.
Standing next to the north quay of the harbour is the 16th
century tolbooth; this is the oldest building in Stonehaven and was originally
built as a storehouse, but was later used as a courthouse and prison. It
reverted to its original use in the 18th century when a new facility was built;
the building was restored in the 20th century and is now used as a museum.
Garron Point, a prominent headland to the north of
Stonehaven, marks the north eastern end of the Highland Boundary Fault.
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